Powerade and Gatorade are popular sports drinks.

Sports drinks are marketed to improve athletic performance, no matter your level of fitness and activity.

Various advocates claim that either Powerade or Gatorade is the better choice. As such, you may wonder whether there’s a big difference between the two.

This article reviews the differences between Powerade and Gatorade to determine whether one is a better choice.

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Powerade and Gatorade are sports drinks that come in a variety of flavors and are made with different ingredients.

Different sweeteners

The main ingredients in both Powerade and Gatorade are water, a type of sugar, citric acid, and salt (1, 2).

Powerade is sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, while Gatorade contains dextrose. Dextrose is chemically identical to regular sugar (1, 2, 3).

High-fructose corn syrup and dextrose are nutritionally similar, which means that Powerade and Gatorade provide comparable amounts of carbs and nutrients (4, 5).

Multiple studies indicate that high-fructose corn syrup and regular sugar have similar negative effects on insulin levels, appetite response, and obesity risk (6, 7, 8, 9).

Powerade has more vitamins than Gatorade

One 20-ounce (590-ml) lemon-lime Powerade and Gatorade contain (1, 2):


PoweradeGatorade
Calories130140
Carbs35 grams36 grams
Protein0 grams0 grams
Fat0 grams0 grams
Sugar34 grams34 grams
Sodium10% of the Daily Value (DV)11% of the DV
Potassium2% of the DV2% of the DV
Magnesium1% of the DV
Niacin25% of the DV
Vitamin B625% of the DV
Vitamin B1225% of the DV

The carb and sugar contents are similar in both sports drinks. Neither has any fat or protein.

However, Gatorade contains 10 more calories and slightly more sodium than Powerade per serving.

On the other hand, Powerade packs more micronutrients, including magnesium, niacin, and vitamins B6 and B12, which play important roles in your body.

Summary

Powerade and Gatorade are sweetened with different types of sugar. Gatorade contains more calories and sodium, while Powerade provides magnesium, niacin, vitamin B6, and B12.

Many people find that Powerade and Gatorade taste different.

Large-scale taste tests on Powerade and Gatorade have not been performed. Still, some people claim that Powerade tastes sweeter than Gatorade.

This difference may result from Powerade being sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, which tastes sweeter than the dextrose sugar used in Gatorade (1, 10).

Powerade also has more added vitamins, which could contribute to the taste differences.

Ultimately, drink taste may vary by individual.

Summary

Some people report that Powerade tastes sweeter than Gatorade. Powerade is sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup and has more added vitamins, factors that both may contribute to taste differences.

Sports drinks are designed to rehydrate your body and restore carbs, electrolytes, and other nutrients that you may lose during exercise (11).

Nonetheless, the benefits of drinking sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade depend on the activity and individual.

There’s limited evidence on the benefits of drinking sports drinks for short-duration exercises like weight training, sprinting, and jumping (12, 13, 14).

That said, beverages with carbs, such as Powerade and Gatorade, may enhance athletic performance in continuous exercise of 1–4 hours or longer (15).

Several studies note that Powerade and Gatorade help improve performance in prolonged exercises like running, cycling, and triathlons, compared with a placebo (16, 17, 18).

However, very little evidence suggests that one drink is better than the other.

Most of these studies were performed in athletes, so the results may not apply to those who engage in low or moderate levels of exercise.

Summary

Powerade and Gatorade may benefit athletes who participate in continuous and prolonged exercise. There is little evidence supporting that one drink is better at enhancing performance compared with the other.

Powerade and Gatorade are both popular sports drinks.

While their nutritional differences are negligible, Powerade has more micronutrients. Both drinks have similar effects on athletic performance and contain added sugar, which may negatively affect your health.

If you choose to drink either beverage, select one based on your personal preferences.